by Kimberley Wallace, Consultant
0333 400 7920 | firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s article, we outline our recommended list of HR procedures that businesses should be checking, implementing or completing before the end of the year:
Social Events Policy
Does your business have a Christmas Party or Social Events policy in place? If not it is good practice to do so. Employers have a duty of care towards their staff at social events even if they are off-site and out of usual working hours. Communicating your expected standards of behaviour and conduct will also reduce the chances of employees misbehaving at such events.
Staff Communication in Advance of the Christmas Party
Send an all staff communication in advance of the Christmas with a copy of your Social Events policy and a reminder that although the event may be off site and after hours, it is still a company event. This will remind staff that appropriate conduct and behaviour is expected and that any incidents of misconduct may be managed under the disciplinary procedure. This could help reduce the changes of any reckless behaviour from employees such as over consumption of alcohol or harassing behaviours.
Christmas Working Hours
Many organisations experience challenges with which employees are covering Christmas period shifts. Employees do not have a given right to have the Christmas period off unless stated in their employment contract. Employees must go through the usual process of booking and requesting annual leave to get these days off work. Employers should ensure they approach these requests fairly, particularly where there is multiple requests that can’t all be accommodated. Employers should consider matters such as:
- Who requested it first;
- Providing equal opportunity for time off – e.g. if you have two staff members, you could give one each a day or two off over the Christmas period;
- That you have a valid business reason for refusing any annual leave requests (e.g. your shop is open on 26th December so you need at least one staff member to work that day);
- Employers can encourage staff to work by giving time and a half, or double time rates.
Be aware of local travel restrictions and how they may prevent an employee from getting to and from work over Christmas. For example, many train services don’t run between Christmas and New Year. There may be reduced bus services or strikes. Ensure that you employee is aware of this and plans their journey to work accordingly. Where possible make alternative arrangements such as allowing the employee to work from home or pay for taxis.
Annual Leave Entitlement Checks
If your holiday year runs 1st January – 31st December 2018 then you should review if your employees used all their holiday entitlement for the year. You may offer the opportunity for staff to carry over a few years to the new holiday year – most companies limit this to three to five days carry over maximum. Ensure that you have carried over these days for any applicable employees to avoid confusion in 2019.
Plan for Any 2019 Legislative Changes
If you don’t know what legislation changes are occurring in 2019, then start looking to see how it affects your business. If you’re unsure on this or don’t have the time, then seek professional HR advice. For example, are your policies in line with the latest legislation? Are your pay rates in line with current national minimum pay rates?
EmployAssist HR can support with any of the above or any other people and employment needs.
If you need professional HR support, please contact us on 0333 400 7920 or email email@example.com.